Going the Distance

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Going the Distance

 

Just because you tart up a typical romantic comedy with trash talk doesn't make it edgy or real. But that's the gambit this meet-cute retread is banking on, especially after the film's Gotham lovebirds---would-be journalist Erin (Barrymore) and record-company talent scout Garrett (Long)---hook up. (Yes, the movie acknowledges these are troubled industries; no, this point is not used for anything besides making their hipster love affair more complicated.) When she returns to the Bay Area to finish school, out come the sappy sweet nothings about cross-country relationships---as well as self-fellatio tips from Garrett's buddies and Erin dishing with her uptight sister (Applegate) about bad cunnilingus etiquette. ("Just shut up and fucking lick!")

Call it the reverse Apatow maneuver: Instead of adding rom-com sweetness to a raunch-com, the filmmakers inject over-the-top vulgarities into an old-fashioned boy-meets-girl romp. Which would be fine---we're no puritans---if the whole endeavor didn't smack of phoniness and desperation. Director Nanette Burstein apparently thought that viewers accustomed to Seth Rogen movies and Sex and the City wouldn't find the straight-to-late-night-TBS material relevant if it didn't include faux-honest dude banter and a drunken Barrymore yelling "Suck my dick!" That's not subversive character development, or even shocking; it's just pretty actors propping up weak storytelling and threadbare jokes with profanity, a depressing prospect never worth going any distance for.---David Fear

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